Meander down secluded trails without another soul in sight and discover isolated pockets of wilderness accessible only to walkers along one of South Australia’s best walking trails.
As the saying goes, not all those who wander are lost. And that’s certainly true of those in search of serenity in South Australia. From the outback to the ocean, South Australia is packed with incredible long-distance hiking and walking trails to stretch your legs and get back to nature. So, dust off your hiking boots, turn on your out of office alert and tour South Australia’s great outdoors on foot with our guide to the best walks in South Australia. You’re about to seriously step-up your step count game.
1. The Arkaba Walk, Flinders Ranges
Nothing compares to navigating a landscape as old as time and conquering the dramatic peaks of the Flinders Ranges is one of the most rewarding and challenging walks in South Australia. Here, disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with nature comes with the territory, as you navigate awe-inspiring gorges, craggy clifftops and remote wilderness. Want to be fully immersed in this jaw-dropping landscape, with the security and knowledge of an expert local guide? Traversing the ancient ramparts of Wilpena pound and through 60,000 acres of private wildlife conservancy, the Arkaba Walk guided tour navigates some of the most spectacular and remote landscapes in South Australia. You won’t have to scrimp on creature comforts either, this private three-day, four-night guided walk is fully catered and each night you’ll sleep in luxury at fully kitted out campsites at Elder Camp.
2. Southern Ocean Walk, Fleurieu Peninsula
Journey along sections of the historic Heysen Trail and through some of the most breathtaking sections of Deep Creek Conservation Park on the four day, three-night guided Southern Ocean Walk. From meandering trails through lush bushland teeming with wildlife and winding through to secret waterfalls, to secluded seaside trails revealing dramatic coastal views and remote, pristine beaches, this guided walk is one of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of the Fleurieu Peninsula. The experience is fully catered and after a day of hiking, you’ll sleep in comfort nestled in nature at Deep Creek Homestead. If you’d prefer to walk solo, Deep Creek Conservation Park is a bush walker’s dream with more walking trails than you can poke a (hiking) stick at and options to suit most timeframes and varying fitness level. Just 90 minutes from Adelaide, it's one of the best walking spots in South Australia.
3. Murray River Walk, Riverland
The Murray River Walk is one of the most immersive ways to discover the magic of the Riverland over four days and three nights. The guided walking journey reveals a new part of the river each day with your houseboat accommodation cruising to your starting point after your night on the river. With small group sizes, expert guides and all meals and snacks prepared for you, there’s nothing left to do apart from soak in the impressive views and the soul of the Riverland over the 40km walk.
4. Heysen Trail, Fleurieu Peninsula to Flinders Ranges
Stretching 1200km from Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula to Parachilna Gorge in the Flinders Ranges, the Heysen Trail is the longest dedicated walking trail in Australia. The iconic walking route weaves through some of South Australia’s most diverse landscapes from the ocean to the bush, encompassing the lush bushland of the Adelaide Hills, rolling vineyards of the Barossa Valley and historic towns and red earth of the outback. The trail is best tackled in sections, with the southern section offering many walk options for beginners, while the northern end is best suited to experienced hikers. For die-hard hikers wanting to tackle larger sections of the walk, you’ll find huts and campsites dotted along the trail to set up camp for the night and to rest your legs after a long day of walking. Guided tours through some sections of the trail are available through Friends of the Heysen Trail, Southern Ocean Walk and AusWalk.
5. Walk the Yorke, Yorke Peninsula
Discover untouched bushland, pristine secluded beaches, sprawling national parks, seaside villages and incredible coastal wildlife along the Walk the Yorke trail. Snaking 500km along the Yorke Peninsula coastline from Port Wakefield, around the peninsula and finishing in Moonta Bay, Walk the Yorke puts you centre-stage to some of the best beaches in South Australia. The trail is made up of 16 sections which can be tackled individually with shorter 45-minute walks, ranging right through to multi-day walks. Our favourite section? The hefty 53km trek from Marion Bay to Gleesons Landing takes in Inness National Park and is well worth clocking up the kilometres to explore this pristine coastal wilderness.
6. Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail
Rugged, challenging and soul inspiring. That’s how the 61 kilometre Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail is best described along with breathtaking (and you might be little breathless too depending on your fitness). Skirt along the remote and spectacular coastline of the Southern Ocean, spotting wildlife and rugged beauty along the way. BYO tent and spend the night under the stars. Dedicated campgrounds for walkers provide tent-platforms and facilities. One of the Great Walks of Australia, tackling the full trail will take about five days.
Due to the bushfires which devastated Kangaroo Island in January 2020, this walk is not available at the moment. You can still visit Flinders Chase National Park and the rest of the island is open for business and as beautiful as ever, so start planning your island escape.
Before you go
Before any hike, make sure you are fully prepared by checking walk difficulty levels, current trail and weather conditions and book campsites ahead of time with the Department for Environment.
Explore South Australia’s waterfalls
Like your walks paired with a picturesque waterfall? Check out our guide to the best 10 waterfall walks in South Australia, from leisurely strolls to hard-core hikes.